Wednesday, June 08, 2016

What About Donald Trump?


Anti-Trump Ad - Women reading Donald Trump comments about women
Published on Mar 16, 2016
New Anti-Trump Ad Quotes Trump Saying 'Women, You Gotta Treat 'Em Like Sh**'
By Allegra Kirkland
Published March 14, 2016
An anti-Trump super PAC on Monday released a new TV ad highlighting some of the Republican presidential frontrunner’s most offensive comments about women through the years.
In the ad from Our Principles PAC, which will air through Tuesday on national cable, women take turns reading quotes from Trump calling women “dogs,” describing his preference for women with large breasts and vowing not to take part in rearing his own children.
“I like kids,” one Trump quote from an appearance on “The Howard Stern Show” goes. “I mean I won’t do anything to take care of them. I’ll provide the funds and she’ll take care of the kids.”
In another, taken from a 1992 New York Times Magazine article, Trump said simply: “Women, you have to treat ‘em like shit.”
The New York real estate mogul’s public fights with Rosie O’Donnell, former presidential opponent Carly Fiorina and Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly also get special attention. Trump has a long-running feud with O’Donnell and has frequently made fun of her physical appearance. He asked how voters could support anyone with “that face” in reference to Fiorina last summer, and implied Kelly targeted him with particularly tough questions during the first GOP debate because she was menstruating.
“This is how Donald Trump talks about our mothers, our sisters, our daughters,” the ad says. “If you believe America deserves better, vote against Donald Trump.”
The Our Principles PAC was founded by Katie Packer, a former deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney,who also runs Burning Glass, a consulting outfit that aims to help Republican candidates appeal to women.
Packer told TPM in an email that the ad is “part of a 7-figure existing buy” that will run through Tuesday nationwide.

Donald Trump's Most Idiotic Moments  
Published on Jul 14, 2015
Trump University Customer: 'Gold Elite' Program Nothing But Fool's Gold
Jim Zarroli
June 6, 2016
Bob Guillo attended a Trump University retreat session which cost $35,000. He learned little from the program and later asked for his money back. Courtesy of Bob Guillo                           
A lot of famous and important people have felt the sting of Donald Trump's invective in recent months, including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, British Prime Minister David Cameron and even the pope.
And then there's Bob Guillo, of Manhasset, N.Y.
The 76-year-old Long Island retiree found himself singled out by Trump in a speech on May 27 because he had criticized Trump University, one of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's most controversial business ventures.
Guillo paid nearly $35,000 to be part of Trump University's "Gold Elite" program, taking money out of his individual retirement account to pay for it. It was a decision he would come to regret.
"At first it was embarrassing," Guillo says in an interview with NPR. "Then I became very, very angry that the man that scammed me out of all that money had the audacity to run for president. And I'm still angry."
Guillo's involvement with the program began in 2009, when he accompanied his grown son, Alex, to a program that promised to teach people how to make money in real estate. The three-day event cost $1,495 to attend.
The session took place at a hotel on Manhattan's East Side. Guillo remembers signs in the hotel lobby that read, "This Way to Success." Inside the auditorium was a large cardboard cutout of Trump, and attendees had their picture taken alongside it.
The people running the session were more like motivational speakers than trained real estate professionals, and they were very persuasive, Guillo says.
"The first thing they said was, 'Guys, Mr. Trump is a multibillionaire and he doesn't need your money. He's doing this to be benevolent and to allow people like you to become successful like he is,' " Guillo says.
Almost immediately, the speakers began pressuring people to sign up for more classes, and when someone balked at spending more money or asked for time to think about it, they turned up the heat, Guillo says.
"They try to embarrass you, saying, 'Why do you have to talk to your wife? Why do you have to talk to your husband? Can't you make decisions by yourself? We're offering you an opportunity of a lifetime here,' " he says.
In fact, Trump University sales people were actively encouraged to sell programs to attendees and were taught ways to overcome their resistance when possible, according to confidential documents released last week.
After signing up for the Gold Elite status, a kind of year-long program of mentoring sessions and educational seminars, Guillo says he realized pretty quickly that the information it provided was largely worthless. Attendees were told to use the real estate website to find properties, or to go to the website of the Internal Revenue Service,, to learn about federal tax deductions, he says.
"I knew about those websites before I walked into Trump University. So the more and more I got involved in Trump University, the more and more I found out that I had truly been scammed," he says.
It's a picture that Jill Martin, vice president and assistant general counsel at the Trump Organization, disputes.
Far from being worthless, the Gold Elite program featured numerous valuable seminars on different aspects of the real estate industry, allowing attendees to choose what they wanted to focus on, Martin says. In fact, many people complained the classes were too detailed, she says.
But, Martin adds, "No education can guarantee success. Education can only give the students the tools they need to apply in the real world to be successful."
Ultimately, when Guillo contacted Trump University officials to demand his money back, he was turned down. He subsequently filed a complaint with the office of the New York attorney general.
The office already had heard numerous complaints about the program, according to current Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and was about to file civil fraud charges against it. Meanwhile, class-action suits had been filed against Trump University in California.
Guillo subsequently appeared in an anti-Trump TV commercial funded by a group with ties to Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who was then running against Trump in the Republican primary.
Trump maintains that the legal challenges against the program are politically motivated. He also says the vast majority of attendees were satisfied with the program and filled out cards giving it highest marks. Among the critics he cited by name was Guillo.
"You have this guy, Bob Guillo," Trump said during his May 27 speech. "He appeared in TV attack ads, even though he rated the programs a five — meaning excellent, the top mark, across the board."
Guillo acknowledges that he gave the program high marks in comment cards submitted when it was nearly over, but says he and the other attendees were pressured to do so by instructors.
"They would say, 'OK, if you don't rate me a five, I'm not going to come back here, and I've got a wife and kids,' and most of the people who were there said, 'It doesn't cost me anything,' " he says.
But Guillo says none of the attendees knew the cards would later be used by Trump as a defense against lawsuit
Schneiderman, the New York attorney general, adds, "The Trump system was to have people fill out an evaluation form with the instructor standing right in front of them, and it was not an anonymous form."
That exerted pressure on the attendees to give high marks, he says.
But Martin, the Trump Organization attorney, says those allegations are "not credible" and insists that instructors were not even in the room nearby when the cards were filled out.

Published on Feb 19, 2016
'I maxed out my credit card': Trump University graduates speak out
Not all former students are aggrieved – the Guardian spoke to one on his to way to $1m. But for those who were left indebted, the anger remains intense
Joanna Walters in New York and Dan Roberts in Washington
Sunday, 05 June 2016
Donald Trump listens as Michael Sexton introduces him at a news conference in New York where he announced the establishment of Trump University on 23 May 2005. Photograph: Bebeto Matthews/AP
Kathleen Meese is still paying off credit card debt she ran up in 2009, to pay for classes at Trump University. She was told the classes would make her a real estate millionaire.
When Meese balked at the $25,000 and travel time needed to take the university’s Gold Elite Program, worried it would strain her finances and could hinder her care for her son, who has Down’s syndrome, a Trump instructor told her she “had to sign up” to help her family, court documents show.
“They said: ‘You are just nervous. It’s going to be fine,’” Meese told the Guardian this week. “We’re going to work with you, help you.
“I maxed out my credit card,” she said.
Meese is now one of 5,000 consumers on whose behalf the New York attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, is suing the Republican nominee’s past venture. Schneiderman slams the for-profit online educational provider as an illegal scam.
Separately, in California, two class action lawsuits are also under way. If the cases go to trial, none will begin before the presidential election. But as details accumulate, the controversy surrounding the now-defunct Trump University will dog Donald Trump all the way.
“You were supposed to write yourself a check for $1m and tape it to your mirror, and in three years you would be able to cash it,” Meese said. “I didn’t have three cents from them. I didn’t make a penny.”
Meese, 57, lives in the village of Schoharie, near Albany in upstate New York, with her husband, who works for the local highway agency, and their adult son. Now that her dream of buying and selling houses has died, she is a stay-at-home wife.
“I wasn’t aiming to get godly rich like Donald Trump,” she said, “but rich enough to help my family. My aunts and uncles and cousins and my sister, we’re all very close … and I’m the one people normally come to in my family, the rock.”
In 2009, after receiving an invitation in the mail to attend a free Trump University seminar, she went to the Palace Theater in Schenectady. According to the affidavit detailing Meese’s case: “We were told if we signed up for Trump’s three-day seminar we would learn everything we needed to know about … how to buy and sell real estate using other people’s money.”
Meese paid $1,495 for a three-day seminar at a Hyatt hotel in the region. During that event, the affidavit shows, she was told about the $25,000 advanced program.
When she expressed worries about money and her son, according to the affidavit, Trump University instructor Stephen Goff “said he had a son so he knew that family meant everything to me … he promised to personally work with me and guaranteed I would make my $25,000 back within 60 days”.
She discussed potential real estate deals with the purported experts. None of them ever worked out.
‘I don’t think he’s Teflon – he’s Velcro’
For Trump, this week has been tumultuous. Just days after he clinched the delegate count needed for his party’s nomination, he was challenged over cited donations to military veterans and excoriated by Hillary Clinton on foreign policy. He also lashed out at journalists, in a surreal press showdown in New York.
But the show was stolen when a hitherto unremarkable judge in San Diego released devastating legal documents about Trump University.
Trump roared that the judge, Gonzalo Curiel, was unfit to preside over the case there, because of his “Mexican heritage”. In San Jose on Thursday, bloody clashes followed between protesters and Trump supporters. Many of the protesters carried Mexican flags.
Trump is vigorously fighting all the lawsuits against Trump University and strongly denies any wrongdoing. But as he cranked up his counterattacks against Clinton and Curiel, some observers believed he had suffered reputational damage that would be increasingly difficult to slough off as he transitions from the relative safety of the Republican primary into the tougher general election arena.
“I don’t think he’s Teflon – he’s Velcro,” said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “We’re going to see a lot more of this begin to stick to him in the coming weeks.”
Sabato believes the real damage of the Trump University cases lies less in the business practices in question and more in the candidate’s shocking decision to accuse a judge of racial bias.
“I don’t think people are under that much illusion about what it takes to become a billionaire these days and will not be surprised that he tricked people,” said Sabato.
“What is most significant about the Trump University case are the attacks on the so-called ‘Mexican’ judge, who is actually as American as I am. He is just putting up an ever larger wall between himself and Hispanic voters with comments like that.”
On the ground, however, details of Trump University continue to emerge. Meese and some others, for example, said in affidavits they had been instructed by Stephen Goff.
Donald Trump’s own promotional material for the courses said the real estate experts were “hand picked by me”.
In a court in Texas in 2007, Goff filed for bankruptcy protection. According to court documents, at the time he had just $18,850 in assets – not enough to buy a Trump University Gold Elite Program – and owed much more. The value of his own real estate venture at the time was listed as $0.
Subsequently at Trump University, Goff taught real estate investment.
‘I benefited from Trump’
One satisfied Trump University customer who spoke to the Guardian is on his way to becoming a millionaire.
The 60-year-old hospital doctor from Maryland took a $5,000 course with Trump University soon after it was created, in 2005. He became a developer as a side interest to his medical career.
The man had been through university, medical school and business school. After taking the program, he said, he borrowed from his 401K retirement fund to buy land in Virginia and start a construction firm to build homes he then planned to sell.
Trump’s campaign spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, pointed the Guardian to the individual, in response to a request to interview a consumer who had made a good profit in real estate as a result of studying with Trump University but who was not in any way affiliated with Trump or any of his business interests.
The doctor shared his identity with the Guardian but asked to speak anonymously because both his current job as a senior executive in the health insurance industry and his role as an occasional expert witness in criminal court cases precluded him, he said, from speaking openly in the media.
He confirmed that he had never met Trump and was speaking entirely independently. A lifelong Republican, the doctor said he not decided whether he would vote for Trump – and that he had not ruled out voting for Hillary Clinton.
“I ended up doing several different real estate ventures,” he said. “I think it [the program] made me more savvy. It made me more aggressive and gave me the courage to poke around a bit with different opportunities. I benefited from Trump.”
His development lost value in the financial crash of 2008, the doctor said, but he managed to reap enough to invest in an office building to rent out, which so far had made him about $400,000 in profit, he said, and was likely to make $1m.
He said he had been given unlimited access to Trump University’s experts as he made his business plan and deals.
The doctor acknowledged that his education, professional experience and access to capital had helped him, but said he feared some expected Trump’s program to “spoon-feed” them everything.
“The idea that you go to Trump University and walk out and something falls out of the sky, a building worth millions for $10 – that just doesn’t happen,” he said.
Meese and others, however, claim they paid for opportunity and were promised success. What they got was debt and deception.
“I’m still angry,” she said.
Trump University: It’s Worse Than You Think
By John Cassidy
June 2, 2016
If anyone still has any doubt about the troubling nature of Donald Trump’s record, he or she should be obliged to read the affidavit of Ronald Schnackenberg, a former salesman for Trump University. Photograph by Mario Tama / Getty  

Following the release, earlier this week, of testimony filed in a federal lawsuit against Trump University, the United States is facing a high-stakes social-
science experiment. Will one of the world’s leading democracies elect as its President a businessman who founded and operated a for-profit learning annex that some of its own employees regarded as a giant rip-off, and that the highest legal officer in New York State has described as a classic bait-and-switch scheme?
If anyone still has any doubt about the troubling nature of Donald Trump’s
record, he or she should be obliged to read the affidavit of Ronald Schnackenberg, a former salesman for Trump University. Schnackenberg’s testimony was one of the documents unsealed by a judge in the class-action suit, which was brought in California by some of Trump University’s disgruntled former attendees.
Schnackenberg, who worked in Trump’s office at 40 Wall Street, testified that “while Trump University claimed it wanted to help consumers make money in real estate, in fact Trump University was only interested in selling every person the most expensive seminars they possibly could.” The affidavit concludes, “Based upon my personal experience and employment, I believe that Trump University was a fraudulent scheme, and that it preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money.”
In one sense, the latest revelations don’t break much new ground. Back in 2013, when the office of Eric Schneiderman, New York’s Attorney General, filed a civil lawsuit against Trump and some of his associates, the complaint, which is also worth reading in full, made perfectly clear what sort of organization it was targeting. Despite Trump University’s claim that it offered “graduate programs, post graduate programs, doctorate programs,” it wasn’t a university at all. It was a company that purported to be selling Trump’s secret insights into how to make money in real estate. From the time Trump University began operating, in 2005, the A.G.’s office repeatedly warned the company that it was breaking the law by calling itself a university. (In New York State, universities have to obtain a state charter.)
That was the bait—or, rather, the initial bait. According to the Attorney General’s complaint, the free classes were merely a marketing device. There, Trump University’s instructors “engaged in a methodical, Systematic Series of misrepresentations” designed to convince students to sign up for a three-day seminar, where they would learn Trump’s personal techniques and strategies for investing, at a cost of about fifteen hundred dollars.
When it began, Trump University offered online classes, but it quickly switched its focus to live classes and seminars, the first of which was free to attend. One of the company’s ads said of Trump, “He’s the most celebrated entrepreneur on earth. . . . And now he’s ready to share—with Americans like you—the Trump process for investing in today’s once-in-a-lifetime real estate market.” The ad said that Trump had “hand-picked” Trump University’s instructors, and it ended with a quote from him: “I can turn anyone into a successful real estate investor, including you.
 In fact, Trump hadn’t handpicked the instructors, and he didn’t attend the three-day seminars. Moreover, the complaint said, “no specific Donald Trump techniques or strategies were taught during the seminars, Donald Trump ‘never’ reviewed any of Trump University’s curricula or programming materials, nor did he review any of the content for the free seminars or the three day seminars.” So what were the attendees taught? According to the complaint, “the contents and material presented by Trump University were developed in large part by a third-party company that creates and develops materials for an array of motivational speakers and Seminar and timeshare rental companies.” The closest that the attendees at the seminars got to Trump was when they were encouraged to have their picture taken with a life-size photo of him.
The alleged scam didn’t stop there. Trump University instructors told people who attended the three-day seminars that this wasn’t enough time to learn how to succeed, and encouraged them to purchase additional “mentorship” programs, which cost up to thirty-five thousand dollars. The complaint explained,
This bait and switch was laid out in the Trump University Playbook (“Playbook”), which provided step-to-step directions to Trump University instructors on what to tell students during the seminars. . . . Trump University instructors and staff were given detailed guidance as to how to build rapport and approach consumers one-on-one to encourage further purchases. Trump University representatives were explicitly instructed to push the highest priced Elite programs. Even when students hesitated to purchase the expensive programs, Trump representatives were provided stock responses to encourage purchases, including encouraging students to go into debt to pay for the Elite programs.
The newly released documents, which included actual Trump University playbooks (one was also uncovered by Politico earlier this year), provide more detail about the sales tactics that its employees used. Some of these methods, such as encouraging customers to max out their credit cards and playing psychological tricks on them, are familiar from the world of time-shares and other dodgy industries. “If they can afford the gold elite don’t allow them to think about doing anything besides the gold elite,” one of the playbooks advised the sales staff. At another point, the manual said, “Don’t ask people what they THINK about something you’ve said. Instead, always ask them how they FEEL about it. People buy emotionally and justify it logically.”
One of Schnackenberg’s contributions, in his testimony, was to illustrate how these tactics worked with individuals. Recounting his experience with one couple, which included a man who was on disability, he said, “After the hard-sell sales presentation, they were considering purchasing the $35,000 Elite program. I did not feel it was an appropriate program for them because of their precarious financial condition.” Far from being commended by his bosses for his honesty, Schnackenberg said that he was reprimanded. Another salesperson then “talked them into buying the $35,000 program after I refused to sell this program to them,” he testified. “I was disgusted by this conduct and decided to resign.”
Trump denies any wrongdoing. Citing surveys that he claims show that Trump University got high approval ratings from its customers, he has set up a Web site at, which features testimonials from Trump University attendees and attacks on the Attorney General. Trump’s lawyers also told the Times that other testimony in the California case had discredited the charges made by former employees. Hope Hicks, Trump’s campaign spokesperson, said that he was looking forward to his day in court.
So far, though, Trump has failed in his efforts to have the lawsuits in California and New York thrown out. And, whatever happens to the legal cases, the allegations will dog him all the way to November. On Wednesday, Hillary Clinton offered a preview of what is to come, calling Trump a “fraud” who is “trying to scam America the way he scammed all those people at Trump University.”
The Clinton campaign is clearly hoping that Trump University will be to Trump as Bain Capital was to Mitt Romney—a way to portray him as just another selfish rich guy who is out to profit at the expense of ordinary folk. Commenting on Twitter, Clinton’s press secretary, Brian Fallon, wrote, “Trump U is devastating because it’s metaphor for his whole campaign: promising hardworking Americans way to get ahead, but all based on lies.”
So will Trump University be the thing that brings Trump down? In a post for The New Republic, Brian Beutler argued that it will be “devastating” to him. On my Twitter feed, some people reacted more skeptically, pointing out that many of Trump’s supporters appear oblivious to any criticisms of him, and that Clinton isn’t necessarily the ideal prosecutor. It is also worth recalling that, in Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, another populist businessman, served as Prime Minister four times despite a list of allegations against him that included bribery, tax evasion, sexual misconduct, and having ties to the mafia.
One thing is clear, though. If the revelations about Trump University don’t do any damage to Trump, it’s time to worry—or worry even more—about American democracy.
John Cassidy has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1995. He has written many articles for the magazine, on topics ranging from Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke to the Iraqi oil industry and the economics of Hollywood. He also writes a column for The New Yorker’s Web site. His latest book, “How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities,” was published in November, 2009, by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Cassidy is also a contributor to The New York Review of Books and a financial commentator for the BBC. He came to The New Yorker after working for newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic. He joined the Sunday Times, in London, in 1986, and served as the paper’s Washington bureau chief for three years, and then as its business editor, from 1991 to 1993. From 1993 to 1995, he was at the New York Post, where he edited the Business section and then served as the deputy editor.
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